The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

A review of a new book by Lysa TerKeurst

In a Christian book that wants to teach about wisdom, I would expect some theological teaching on this important fruit. And the primary way to do that would be to teach about Jesus Christ, the embodiment of wisdom. However, Christ was hardly even mentioned in the entire book. He is mentioned so scarcely, that I marked the two or three pages I found him. Even her gospel presentation reads in a very man-centered fashion:

 

The Appeal

Let me start with what is refreshing about Lysa Terkeurst, and I would hope is a big reason why so many women are attracted to her books and speaking. Terkeurst is a charismatic author who emphasizes personal responsibility in decision-making. She wants to give practical help and advice on weighing, evaluating, and making decisions that honor God.

I was happy to see that the author promotes wisdom and teaches that this virtue involves regular Scripture reading and prayer, obedience to God, and seeking godly counsel. Terkeurst doesn’t excuse a woman’s responsibility and accountability with a passive “ask your husband” theology. She wants to equip women to be thinkers.
The Appeal?

When I received this book in the mail, I was expecting the usual kind of writing that makes a bestseller’s list: humorous illustrations, emotional stories that draw the reader in, followed by Bible verses with a moral lesson. And I was expecting it to be written at a reading level that would be accessible to most readers. But I have to say that my eyes have now been opened to what must be a turning point in our reading culture.

Yesterday’s “7th grade reading level” has evolved with our technology. I felt like I was reading a new genre, something like stream of conscience meets Twitter. The sentences are short. Many of them are not sentences. I get what she’s doing there, and even throw in a few sentence fragments myself for effect on occasion. But when they are generously peppered into the text as a major component of the writing style, you don’t feel like you are reading a book anymore. I don’t think Terkeurst writes in this fashion because she is unskilled. Rather, I believe she has capitalized on our culture’s conditioned reading habits from social networking. Apparently this is appealing. I have to say that I found it a bit insulting as a reader.
Missing the Forrest for the Trees

The purpose of this book stated in the subtitle is “making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.” Throughout the book, the author explains that some yeses are better than others, and she gives tips to teach women how to “chase down” their decisions before they make them so that they can see the consequences they will lead to. She gives good practical, albeit somewhat common sense advice to guide the reader in this.

Terkeurst emphasizes that women can easily overwhelm their schedules with obligations because they have a proclivity to please and be liked.  Our “overwhelmed schedules” will often lead to “underwhelmed souls” that miss out on God’s personal assignments for our lives. In other words, we fill up our days with obligations from all the yeses we give, and we don’t leave room for the best yes that God has in store for us.

Are you confused yet?

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